D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership

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Institute Director

Richard Kyte


Kyte, RickRick Kyte is Director of the D.B. Reinhart Institute for Ethics in Leadership and Professor of Philosophy at Viterbo University in La Crosse, Wis., where he teaches a variety of ethics courses dealing with issues in business, health care, law, politics, the environment, art, and religion. He has published and lectured widely on topics related to justice, forgiveness, virtue, and the meaning of life.

After growing up in Frazee, a small town in northwestern Minnesota, Kyte attended Hamline University where he earned a B.A. in philosophy. He then went on to graduate school, obtaining a Ph.D. in philosophy from The Johns Hopkins University in 1994. Since then he has taught at several colleges and universities including Pikes Peak Community College in Colorado Springs, Colo., Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tenn.

Kyte is the author of An Ethical Life: A Practical Guide to Ethical Reasoning and Ideas Unite, Issues Divide: Reflections on the Ethical Life

Click here to go to Kyte's personal Web page.

Speaking Topics

Servant Leadership and the Common Good
In the 1970s Robert K. Greenleaf coined the phrase "servant leadership" to describe the approach one takes to leadership when the primary desire is to serve others. In the years since, servant leadership has been adopted by organizations throughout the world, including most of the companies that regularly make Fortune magazine's top ten list of the best companies in America in which to work. This presentation will look at the history of servant leadership, the principles that inform it, and some of the inspiring examples of individuals and organizations who have taken servant leadership to heart.

Ethics, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life
Can any kind of life have meaning, or only certain kinds of lives? Does life as a whole have meaning, or is meaning found only within particular activities? Is happiness a reliable gauge of life’s meaning? Is there a necessary link between goodness and happiness?

Religion, Politics, and the Ethics of Controversy
As our society becomes more diverse we see an increasing number of disputes over the proper place of religion in the public sphere. These disputes often play out in local communities causing heated arguments among neighbors. This presentation will look at some of the historical and cultural causes of religious/political disputes and explore ways of living together without sharing the same worldviews. Some of the specific topics covered will be prayer at government functions, teaching evolution/creation in schools, and the place of religious symbols in public places.

The Cultural Significance of Wilderness: A Lost Voice? 
Environmentalist authors from the mid-nineteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries shared a conviction that the experience of wilderness was crucial to the health of American society. That conviction has all but disappeared from contemporary social commentary. This presentation will look at the writings of authors such as Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Aldo Leopold, and Sigurd Olson in an attempt to reclaim an important voice in American social and political life.

Kyte is also willing to discuss with you other ideas for programs, such as book discussions, presentations, and workshops in areas related to the topics outlined above.

Selected publications


  • Ideas Unite, Issues Divide: Essays on the Ethical Life (Piscator Books, 2013)
  • An Ethical Life: A Practical Guide to Ethical Decision Making (Anselm Academic 2012) 

Book Chapters

  • "The Art of Forgiving: Conditions of Perspective and Transformation." In Mapping Forgiveness, ed. Malika Rebai Maamri. The Inter-Disciplinary Press, 2012.
  • "Conversation and Authority: A Tension in the Inheritance of the Church-Related College." In Professing in the Postmodern Academy: Faculty and the Future of Church-Related Colleges, ed. Steven Haynes and Corrie Norman. Baylor University Press, 2002.

Journal Articles

  • "Love, Land, and the Ethics of Place." International Society for the Philosophy of Architecture. [blog] 20 May 2012, Available at: http://isparchitecture.wordpress.com.
  • "The Whimsical Nature of Ethical Reasoning." The Hamline Review. Vol. 31, April 2012.
  • "Knowing Your Place: Thinking Like Aldo Leopold." EarthMatters. Vol. 18, no. 2, Winter 2012.
  • "Hospitality in the Franciscan Tradition: A Distinctive Ethical Vision and Practice."The AFCU Journal: A Franciscan Perspective on Higher Education. Vol. 1, no. 1, January 2004

The Ethical Life is a series of reflections on the ways that ethical thinking influences our actions, emotions, and relationships. The column appears twice a month on the editorial page of the Sunday edition of the La Crosse Tribune. 

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